Sorry for the lack of new front page content since our ski school trip. I haven't posted anything because: A) we haven't skied since then, and B) because for the last week or so I've been completely overcome with this crazy sinus infection/flu-ish illness. I thought I'd post a few random thoughts and resolutions for the 2009 season, since I've seen a couple of site members to the same and I think it's a good idea. So, here goes:
1. I'm going to start every set with a speed that I can run a full pass back to back at. That will probably be 30MPH. I tried the "32mph or bust" technique last year and it didn't work for me or just about anybody in the boat. I learned at ski school (through an epiphany at 28mph) that a clean pass at slow speeds, even 28, is in many ways harder than running faster speeds. The ski will stall immediately if you don't carry speed through the course at these speeds so good technique is paramount when you're riding in the slow lane. I remember when they dropped me down to 28 in the course at ski school after riding at 29-30ish most of the time and I was like "This feels way too soft and slow! You're killing me! 5'10"190lbs here brother!" But, when I really, really focused on technique I nailed the pass.
2. I'll be riding the trick every time out. The ski was 800.00 with the bindings so that's one reason I want to get use out of it. The other reasons are that it's totally fun, challenging, and everything on trick crosses over to slalom in one way or another. Plus, at some point I'd like to flip on the damned thing since that is about the coolest looking behind-the-boat activity of all time. One day, one day. Trick is a challenge that fewer and fewer people are up for these days. It's such a challenge. It takes so much time and patience to learn, as if it's explicitly hard just for the sake of being hard. Why not learn it yourself? If nothing else, you'll have something to do on rough public water when all you can do is pout with your slalom stick.
3. I'm standing tall and sticking that handle out in FRONT of me on every turn. No more arm-out-to-the-side jive on a 60 foot line. It's over for that habit.
4. I'm skiing back to the handle. Yep, I said it. One of the most basic, generic, overused tips of all time finally makes sense to me. Combined with #3 this tip is deadly in the course. I've heard it a million times but finally felt it at ski school. Put your loose hand on your hip and ski it back to the handle. I sure hope I can feel this one again. I'll certainly try.
5. The gear is not my problem. I had night and day sets on the exact same equipment during ski school. For an entire day I'd think the ski was turning like a school bus but then it would be a lights-out setup the next day. I had my "ski makeover" in 2007 and I think my current setup is still just fine for now. I'm not getting Stargazer either. My 6.5ng setup is just fine for our level of skiing. As tempting as it is, I'm holding off for now. After skiing the amount of boats I've skied, all with wildly differing configurations and speed controls from PP 5.0 to hand throttle to the latest ZO version, I can comfortably say that speed control is not my problem either. I may break out the 2002 CDX just for fun this summer.
6. I'm going to free ski more often. Doing this at all would qualify for "more often".
That's about all for now. Hopefully this illness works its way out over the next couple days so that I can run some buoys next weekend. More as it develops.
Chef23, 4/13/2009: I agree with all your points. It is good to start at a pass you can make consistently.
Regarding tricking I am going to trick more this year. I have been tricking since I was a kid and want to get back to doing wake-os and some toe turns this year. I agree time on the trick helps your slalom time also.
jhughes, 4/17/2009: Small correction- I am buying StarGazer. I can't resist.